Welcome back everyone to mid morning, we're at the starkville community theater having a conversation about race, a conversation about police officers and their relationships with the community and all working together to improve that.
Representative cheikh taylor mentioned at the starkville rally a week ago, that protest has to turn into policy.
So i want to begin this part of the conversation back to you again, representative taylor.
You wanted to share with us some statistics and also talk about the importance of policy.
Rep cheikh taylor: well, first of all, i think, and representative kabir karreim and i, we talk at great lengths about these kumbaya moments when everything, all the tensions are calm on the surface, but we're not talking about real issues.
The real issues that we do have are policing problems in the united states.
In fact, most people don't know over a thousand people a year died because of police shootings, which actually equates to about a hundred per month.
Now, in those situations about 60% of those people are unarmed.
When you look at our criminal justice system in our prisons around the state and around the country, only about 6% of those actually have violent offenders.
So if you compare that to what's happening in japan, who has zero incidents, not a thousand, zero.
If you look at germany, they have six incidents of police killings.
If you look at the uk, that has four.
Rep cheikh taylor: you understand that there's a culture that we have to address here.
That culture also stems back to systemic racism.
Those are the issues that we're talking about today, and the policies that we're talking about today.
Stop and frisk, racial profiling, whether or not we have a community based board that can review some of these incidents or all of these incidents, whether or not these cameras are mandatory that they be put on, and whether or not you can walk from the police department, because you have certain issues, down to the sheriff's department.
You get fired here and get hired here, but the same bad cop.
So those are the things we need to talk about.
I'm going to pitch it to kabir karreim because he had some issues, some policies that we are working on, that he has a lot of information on.
Aundrea self: when it comes to those policies, and i'm going to let you finish his thought there, but when it comes to those policies, how do we get involved in making ... you all go down to jackson, you're there four months out of the year.
You can't do it alone, so what do citizens need to do?
Kabir karreim: i just would say agitate, agitate, agitate, and hold us accountable, whether it's the police department or whether it's an elected official.
We should be accountable to what you want to see.
It's the same way how i've been hearing all lives matter, and that's true, but all lives cannot matter until black lives matter.
Kabir karreim: i saw an analogy, and i thought it was excellent, where if a fire broke out in a neighborhood, if the fire truck came, they didn't put water on all the houses.
They put water on the house that was on fire.
All houses do matter, but this particular house is the one on fire.
Aundrea self: it needs the attention.
Kabir karreim: it needs the attention.
That's all that the black lives matter movement is saying, which should result in policy.
We're in the process of passing a resolution to suspend the rules where we can address some of the protest issues in policing, a statewide database for officers that have been complicit in out of line activities, banding the choke hold and other excessive movements inside, on stops, and a plethora of other things.
But we're turning the protest into policy and trying to address some of the issues that we're hearing.
We're at a point in our country where we have to do more listening than lecture.
Rep cheikh taylor: one of the main pushes for the legislation that we're trying to make sure goes forward is to make sure that there are less policed interactions.
For example, jaywalking is still on the books in most places.
I think they can get a pass.
Spitting on the sidewalks is still on the books in some areas, if it wants to be enforced.
Aundrea self: this conversation is sort of moving in the direction is when we were planning for this show, we assembled a group in our newsroom, and a lot of them are young people, and one of the questions that they asked and that they wanted us to address in this platform was that police officers police the public, but who polices police?
So that is what policy is all about.
It's not about sort of being a watchdog for them per se, but it's about accountability, as we've said here so many times.
Speaker 4: yes ma'am.
I have to be accountable myself.
The chief have to be accountable.
So it starts with me.
It starts with a chief of police and every officer on the police force.
We have to make sure that they are accountable for their actions, for right or wrong.
So accountability is so important in a police department.
You have to make sure that everyone's accountable for their actions.
It starts with everyone.
It's the strength of the police department, because if you don't hold the officer accountable for his actions, it's going to slip under the rug.
So everything, every incident, every complaint, every call, it doesn't matter in our police department.
It can be a small call, we still look at it as a complaint.
We still make sure that we get in contact with that citizen and at least talk to them about whatever situation they have.
So accountability is so important in our police department.
So everybody has to be held accountable.
Chief fred shelton: it also starts with the hiring.
We're working on it.
One of the things that we do, we don't just hire a person off the street.
They're given a psychological evaluation.
We do a voice stress test.
Again, can we tell whether this person is a bad officer, but we do have some measures.
Then when you start violating having good policies and strong policies, when an officer starts violating them policies, then you start moving forward and start taking care of that.
Releasing videos of the incident.
If there's an incident that's in question, transparency.
Okay, this is what happened.
Let the public see it.
Aundrea self: i think that's very important.
Chief fred shelton: in our city, we have established a civilian review committee, and they look at it and we work together on various cases and work things out.
They're our liaison.
If something is not going right, then somebody needs to say it.
As the representative said, agitate, say something about it.
You have a right to say.
You got to speak up.
If you don't speak up, the old adage says, ma said, " closed mouth don't get fed."
Aundrea self: that's exactly right.
I will say this.
One of the other things that came up in our conversations, that we keep hearing people say, "yeah, ther are a few bad apples, but you can't paint this broad brush," bu do you understand what people feel when they say one bad apple is too many?
Chief fred shelton: with that being said, there's a board of law enforcement of standards and training that governs law enforcement.
When an officer is fired or disciplined, that goes on their record.
In the state of mississippi, if the right pressure's put on, they can pull certificate.
An officer cannot be an officer in the state of mississippi ever again.
There's one officer that we actually did that.
So i can go down to a hearing down to the board of law enforcement of standards and training and say, "hey, this officer i not a good officer."
And the they could pull this certification.
Aundrea self: we're running out of time, but i do want to hear from each of you one last time before we go.
That is, representative taylor has said the owners cannot be on the public, but obviously there is something that the public can do to help in this situation.
So i want to hear from each of you quickly, what is it that the public can do to help you as a lawmaker, you as a law enforcement officer?
And i'll start here with you, representative karreim.
Kabir karreim: as i say every time i speak, the public needs to get involved, know what's going on in your police department, know what's in the sop, the standard operation procedure, know your ordinances, go to your city council meetings, your supervisor meetings.
If you can make it down to jackson to see how the process is made in the capitol, do that and go vote.
Aundrea self: absolutely.
Rep cheikh taylor: yeah.
The way your community looks is because you've elected leadership in that community.
And whether you went to the ballot box or not, if you didn't, if you stayed home, it looks like you stayed home.
So at the end of the day, your sheriff is elected official, your mayor's elected official, state representatives, governors, and so forth.
If you want positive change and you want it immediately, you can do it every four years and make sure that your voice is heard at the ballot box.
Aundrea self: chief shelton.
Chief fred shelton: robert pierce said that the public are the police and the police are the public.
The only difference is that we get paid full time to do them duties.
We have to shop in the same places that we work in.
Aundrea self: you care about what they hear about.
Chief fred shelton: yes, correct.
Speaker 4: yes, ma'am.
Continue a strong relationship with our community, contain a dialogue, continue the partnerships, and just continue to be trustworthy and be able to build a relationship and work together as a community.
If we work together as community, all us together, we can deal with any situation and show each other that love, like stuff the community has stop the police department.
Aundrea self: well, gentlemen, i think this is a great start.
I mean, talking is great.
The kumbaya moment is great, as you've all said, but we have to get on the ground and do the actual work and public.
You need the help of the public.
Police officers to do your job, and also lawmakers to enact policies that make all of us better.
We all have work to do.
Thank you all so much for being here.
I appreciate it.
And we will continue our conversation tomorrow with a wide range of ages to continue this conversation on race.
Thank you so much for joining us.
Enjoy the rest of your day, everybody.
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